1. Qingyuan Mountain, February 2018. The beautiful Qingyuan Mountain is a protected national park region of China’s Fujian province, located just three kilometers outside the city of Quanzhou. Dating back to Imperial China’s Tang Dynasty, the mountain is famed for its giant statue of Laozi (also known as Lao Tzu Statue or Yuxian Rock), the founder of Chinese Taoism.
2. Qingyuan Mountain, February 2018. I’ve seen a fair whack of Chinese mountains in my time, but Qingyuan holds its own with an abundance of curious sights as you work your way up to Sky Lake and the summit. There’s a shrine and statue to Buddhist master Hongyi, numerous temples, engraved rocks and magnificent trees transplanted from Taiwan by Chinese army generals. All the while increasingly impressive views over Quanzhou open up, even on a grey, wintry afternoon like this one.
3. Qingyuan Mountain, February 2018. Our Qingyuan Mountain experience came during The Chinese New Year break, which meant many of the people we bumped into were festive, friendly and keen to exchange a few words. We met this family at a much-needed resting point after a grueling set of stone staircases. The little girl was particularly chatty, not at all put off by our lack of language skills.
4. Qingyuan Mountain, February 2018. The demanding climb brings great rewards, especially when you reach Sky Lake and its beautiful but largely pointless visitors center. The lone, persistent old vendor on the wooden bridge badgered me to buy some of her uninspiring snacks until I finally relented and took a bottle of water. Inside the center, we were bemused to see there was no café of any description and that the postcards on display in the so-called Post Office were similarly unavailable. Back out on the lake, a family of evil-looking black geese busied about preening themselves and dipping their beaks in the water.
5. Qingyuan Mountain, February 2018. There are a handful of pretty temples scattered around Qingyuan. Nantai Temple, with its giant bell and drum, revolving golden columns and sleeping Buddha, is easily the pick of the bunch. Qingyuan Mountain is open daily from 09:00-17:00, with entrance tickets priced at 70RMB (£8/€9/$10.20).
For more on this under-the-radar city, check out my other 5s from around Quanzhou.
Or maybe search further afield with my zillion articles from across China.
I’ve also written a short story series called Challenged in China.